LA basketball season begins
Cats play in 3rd round playoff game
Lyndon Johnson/OCN staff
Livingston Academy senior Kristin Hoover takes a shot during
the 67-60 win over Celina in the Hall of Fame game played at Celina
High School on November 16.
By MAC McLEOD, OCN Sports
Livingston Academy boys and girls basketball got underway for the
2004-05 season last week with the girls playing twice and the boys
On Tuesday, Nov. 16, both teams travelled to Celina to open the
season. The Lady Wildcats, the defending state champions, pulled
off a 67-60 win over the Lady Bulldogs while the boys dropped a
close contest, 60-57.
Head Coach Lesley Smith said of her Lady Cats, "This was
our first test of the season and it was a win. I didn't think we
played well, but Celina has a strong team and that was part of it.
We didn't shoot all that well, and I wasn't really happy with our
The Lady Wildcats never trailed in the game, taking an 18-16 lead
at the end of the first period led by 3 at the half, 33-30.
Senior April Handy, who led all shooters with 22 points, said,
"We're a better shooting team than that. The ball really didn't
want to fall tonight. I thought we came around some in the second
half, but we have to have more players in double figures."
Handy and Brittany McCoin, with 10 points, were the only Livingston
players in double figures.
In the boys contest against Celina, the Wildcats were playing
without the services of Wilson Cates, Wesley Puckett, Matt Reeder,
and Brian Colson, but managed to keep the contest close.
Brad West kept Livingston in the game with some fine outside shooting,
and ended the game with 14 points. Brandon Matthews led the attack
Coach Danny McCoin said, "Well, we just couldn't buy a basket
at times tonight, but neither could they.
"We're not going to panic this early in the season, and when
we get all our plays back, we'll be fine. I thought we played much
better as the game went along."
In the Lady Cats' game Saturday against Gibson County, Livingston
Academy hit the road for Martin to take on the powerful squad. But
for a cold snap during the first half of the final period, the Lady
Cats were in the game all the way.
Livingston led by 2 at the end of the first period, and trailed
by 7 at the half. At the end of the third frame, Gibson led by 4
at 49-45. But at the opening of the final period, the Cats went
freezing cold, going almost half of the period before scoring. LA
ultimately lost 65-75.
Coach Smith said, "Gibson is a good team, and we stayed right
with them for most of the game.
"Right there in the final period, we just got it going, and
until I look at the film, I really don't know why. They had one
player (Katelan Dudley) who really hurt us (39 points). Our scoring
was better spread out, but we still only had one player (Krista
Clinard) in double figures."
Clinard had 14 points on the night, while Kristin Hoover, Whitney
Sells, and Ashley Matthews each added 8. Handy and Haley Mullins
each added 6.
The Wildcats and Lady Wildcats were on the road again Monday night,
Nov. 22 at Hume Fogg, and were scheduled for a home game Tuesday
night to face Pickett County. The Livingston Academy teams will
be at home again next Tuesday night, Nov. 30 to host Cookeville.
Cats play in 3rd
round playoff game
Lyndon Johnson/OCN staff
Livingston Academy senior Brian Colson, #32, hangs onto the legs
of Smith County running back Michael Wilmore, #21, while more LA
defenders help take him down.
By MAC McLEOD, OCN Sports
When the 2005 graduating class of Livingston Academy gathers in
a few years for their first reunion, one of the main topics of discussion
will be the football season. After all the handshaking and greetings
are through, a lot of reminiscing will focus on the team that was
perhaps the finest in the school's history.
They'll recall the record breaking 11-2 season, the 10 game winning
streak, the most points scored in one season, and the most touchdowns
scored by a single player, all records that may stand for a long
But they probably won't have much to say about Smith County. During
the course of the 2004 season, the Owls were the only team to defeat
the Wildcats and they did it twice. Once early in the season and
again in the third round of the 3A divisional playoffs.
After Friday night's 20-6 defeat in Carthage that ended Livingston
Academy's season, Head Coach Matt Eldridge explained, "The
team is taking this pretty rough right now, but they have nothing
to be ashamed of. This team gave us everything we could ask; and
hey, we're so proud of them.
"Tonight we played great defense for three quarters, then
it just got away from us. That's football."
Coach Eldridge could not have explained it better. During the regular
season, the Wildcats rolled over nine opponents and did it in convincing
style, setting several school records along the way.
Going into Friday's game, both teams knew it would be a defensive
battle and the victor could well be the team that got the right
break at the right time. In the end, that's exactly what happened.
Smith County Coach Jimmy Maynord, also a graduate of Livingston
Academy, said, "We knew Livingston would be our toughest opponent.
They have an outstanding program there, very well coached, and this
season had some outstanding athletes.
"We watched films and knew we had to shut down the wide running
game, and that's what we did.
"This was a great high school football game between two outstanding
teams. Both can be proud of their efforts."
During the regular season, no team had scored more than 14 points
on Smith County, and the Wildcats knew they would have to be as
equally tough on defense to have a chance at the win. And for three
quarters, they were.
The first period took only 22 minutes to play. The Owls had the
ball twice and the Wildcats once, and by the end of the first half,
each team had 6 first downs, 97 yards on the ground, and 6 points.
It took the two bands longer to perform the halftime exercises than
it did the teams to play the game.
Coach Eldridge pointed out, "I don't know the stats, but the
first half was fairly equal. That's about how we figured it would
be. The biggest thing is that they shut down our option play, which
had been our bread and butter all season. Give them credit, they
defended us well."
The Owls got on the board with three minutes to go in the half,
using only 4 plays, 2 runs, and 2 passes. The big play was a 42-yard
pass play that put the ball at the Wildcat 22. Two plays later,
Michael Wilmore bulled in from the 5. The extra point attempt was
Livingston responded on the next offensive series. Taking the ball
down the field from the 36, senior Brian Colson rolled off 31 yards
on 2 plays, then Jamey Vaughn got inside the 10.
On the next play, Vaughn fumbled, but quarterback Wilson Cates
scooped up the loose ball, and with 29 seconds remaining, scrambled
in for Livingston's only score of the night. Wesley Puckett's point-after
try was wide.
For over 10 minutes in the third period, it was almost a repeat
of the first half with neither team able to do much on offense as
the two defenses completely dominated play.
Then, with 1:25 left in the period, the Owls got the break they
needed when Cates got wrapped up on an option play and fumbled at
the Livingston 43. On the very next play, Smith County went to the
air, and connected on a 43-yard pass for the score.
"I blew it," Cates later said. "I fumbled and I
let the pass receiver get away from me."
Smith County's final score came midway through the final period.
The Owls put on one of the night's only sustained drives, getting
3 first downs and marching 42 yards.
On the other side of the ball, the Wildcats executed only 3 offensive
plays in the final period, an incomplete pass, a punt and a fumble.
Colson said, "They beat us tonight. I'm still not convinced
they are better than we are, but tonight the breaks went their way
and they found a way to stop our option plays, which killed us.
"This is my final game, and I've loved playing football at
Livingston Academy. This was a great team, and I'll always remember
"No one person won a game and no one person lost a game for
us all season. This was a team effort from day one. We won as a
team and we lost as a team. I'm just proud and thankful I was able
to be a part of this team."
Smith County will host Knoxville-Fulton Friday night for the right
to advance to the championship game at MTSU in Murfreesboro.
11/19/04 LA SC
1st Downs 8 12
Yds. Rushing 147 171
Yds. Passing 14 135
Passes Att./Comp. 5/2 10/5
Passes Int. By 0 0
Fumbles Lost 2 0
Punts/Avg. 6/36 5/43
Yds. Penalized 15 20
Score by Quarter:
LA: 0 6 0 0Total: 6
SC: 0 6 7 7 Total: 20
SC -Wilmore, 5 run. Kick failed.
LA -Cates, 5 run. Kick failed.
SC -Plummer, 43 pass from Brady. Hackett kick.
SC -Wilmore, 3 run. Hackett kick.
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Overton County News
415 West Main Street
P.O. Box 479
Livingston, Tennessee 38570